Observations by NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft show a global view of Mars in low energy, or thermal, neutrons. Thermal neutrons are sensitive to the presence of hydrogen and the presence of carbon dioxide, in this case 'dry ice' frost.
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Global Map of Thermal Neutrons

Observations by NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft show a global view of Mars in low energy, or thermal, neutrons. Thermal neutrons are sensitive to the presence of hydrogen and the presence of carbon dioxide, in this case "dry ice" frost. The red area at the top of the map indicates that about one meter (three feet) of carbon dioxide frost covers the surface, as it does every Mars winter in the polar regions. Soil enriched by hydrogen is indicated by the deep blue colors on the map, which show a low intensity of thermal neutrons. An enhancement of thermal neutrons close to the south pole, seen as a light green color, indicates the presence of residual carbon dioxide in the south polar cap, even though the annual frost dissipated from that region during southern summer.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. Investigators at Arizona State University in Tempe, the University of Arizona in Tucson, and NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston, operate the science instruments. The gamma-ray spectrometer was provided by the University of Arizona in collaboration with the Russian Aviation and Space Agency, which provided the high-energy neutron detector, and the Los Alamos National Laboratories, New Mexico, which provided the neutron spectrometer. Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, is the prime contractor for the project, and developed and built the orbiter. Mission operations are conducted jointly from Lockheed Martin and from JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

Image details

ID#:
PIA03801

Date added:
2002-05-28

Target:
Mars

Mission:
2001 Mars Odyssey

Spacecraft:
2001 Mars Odyssey

Instruments:
Gamma Ray Spectrometer Suite

Size:
2668 x 1371 pixels (width x height)

Rating:



Views:
3,686

Full-Res TIFF:
PIA03801.tif (1.16 MB)

Full-Res JPG:
PIA03801.jpg (1.24 MB)

Image credit:
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona/Los Alamos National Laboratories